There is no worse thing that could happen to any traveler than getting robbed in your destination, since I experienced myself going through this, I will tell you my own story.
I was in one of my beloved cities and my second home: Santo Domingo. I am totally familiar with the city, specially the criminality, I go several times a year since most of my family lives there. Last April I went back to Santo Domingo since every year by that date is the International Book Fair. I was excited since I traveled there by the Ferry from San Juan with a few friends who are also Literature Freaks.
La Feria del Libro
We got to Santo Domingo on a Thrusday morning and went to our hotel, right in the George Washington Avenue where the Malecon is located. We went out to walk outside by the famous Zona Colonial – Santo Domingo Colonial Zone, that even though is a hugely touristic spot, you can feel the magic of its structures. Zona Colonial is one of the most amazing places I have been. At night time, people go out to meet and have fun in the squares. Even though I’ve lived most of my life in Puerto Rico and that is so close to Dominican Republic, here in the island we’re not used to that.
Friday it was our first day in the International Book Fair. It was definitely amazing! If you love Latin literature, you should definitely put it in your bucket list! You will find amazing classic for about 100 Dominican pesos, which is less than $3 USD, so, book lovers, take note!
That Friday I heard some book sellers talking about how they got robbed different things: cell phones and wallets were the top. That definitely sucked! They told us to be careful about our valuables, not to put our cell phones in the back pockets and all those things that we usually take for granted. I should have been a little more careful.
That day I got robbed…
On Saturday, I decided to walk to my aunt’s house and told one of my friend to come with me. I walked the same way I walk to get to my aunt’s house EVERY SINGLE TIME. My aunt lives right in Mexico Avenue, that if you check is exactly where the Government Palace is located at. I walked there. I crossed a crowded street. I just fell someone pulling my purse. I just got shocked.
There was this man in a motorcycle. He came right in front of me. Pulled my crossbody purse off of me. The handles broke and then he left. “At least I didn’t have there my passport and my wallet”. That was my first thought. My second one? MY iPHONE!
Yeah, on that purse I had my iPhone, that always hurt to lose one. There was the charger. $10 USD and about 2,000 Dominican pesos (about $50 USD). I hugged my friend. I was glad I was alive, I was not hurt, no one point me with any kind of gun. I lost my moleskine there. That same moleskine I was trying to write my experiences in Santo Domingo and I had few stories already written. When I look back, losing that little notebook was what hurt the most. All the other things I had were easily recovered, those stories not.
What can you learn from it?
No, I will never tell you not to visit Santo Domingo or any other place in Dominican Republic, which is one of the places I love the most in the world. I will tell you the same thing that I was told that Friday: take care of your valuables! Leave your passport and wallet in your hotel security box, go outside of your hotel with no jewelry, and, first thing I should have thought about: NOT TO SPEAK IN STREETS THAT ARE DANGEROUS! These people noticed that I am Puerto Rican because of my accent (since I am half Dominican, they don’t know I was not born there until I start to talk) In case of you guys that are tourists and do not look either Dominican or Latin, my best suggestion to walk around is to book a tour or meet local people from different platforms online. This way, it will be easier to you to be conscious of where is safe to walk.
Keep on traveling, but make sure your vacation does not turn into a nightmare!
Tell us, have you ever got robbed while traveling?
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